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How Yoga Can Tone and Trim Your Body

Updated on October 5, 2009

How To Use Yoga To Strengthen Stomach Muscles

Yoga is beneficial to wellness routines, and has the ability to reduce stress, while exercising the body. Yoga can also slim and tighten your midsection. Yoga positions (called asanas) that exercise the stomach muscles have proven to be beneficial, healthy, and successful.

Before you begin, your skill and comfort level must be assessed before embarking on many of the yoga positions. If you are not sure you will be able to comfortably complete a specific asana, start with a pose that is easier and work your way up as your strength and flexibility increases.

Pavan-Muktasan
The pavan-muktasan pose exercises the stomach muscles.  Begin by lying on your back. Using a yoga mat will cushion and support the spine. Bend and bring both knees up to your chest so that your thigh touches your stomach. Hug your knees by clasping your hands together and locking your fingers around them. Raise your head up so your nose meets your knees. Take a deep breath and hold it for thirty seconds before releasing. Slowly lower your body to the starting position.  If using two legs is difficult, the exercise can be done with one leg at a time.

Bhujangasan
Begin by lying on your stomach. Position your hand under your shoulders. Using just the back muscles, lift and raise your upper torso off the floor, keeping your head upright. Don't push with your hands, because you want the muscles in your back to do the work.  Hold this posture for thirty seconds, then lower your body back to the starting position. Even though you are using your back muscles to lift your upper body, performing this asana will reduce belly fat and flatten your tummy.

The Bow
This exercise is similar to the previous asana, but more involved.  Starting by lying on your stomach, curl your legs upward and lift your upper torso. Bend your knees so that the soles of your feet come up toward the back of your head. Grasp your ankles, pulling with your hands and pushing with your legs until only your stomach is on the floor. Try to make a circle with your body. Keep your knees together and hold the position for thirty seconds.  Slowly return to the starting position.

Paad-Pashchimottanasan

This exercise requires a good amount of flexibility, so you may not want to try this one until you are stronger and more flexible.

Lie on your back, legs straight and arms overhead.  The body should be straight from head to toe and arms extended straight overhead.  With the palms upward, clasp your hands together. Pull your stomach muscles inward and sit up while keeping your back straight and hands overhead.

Bend forward and grab your toes with your hands, and put your head between your arms until it touches your knees. Hold this position for two minutes.  Slowly release the pose, and return to the starting position.

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